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Appendix- II

1.  Brief History

1.1    To exercise effective control over the construction and operation of the first railways in India, which were entrusted to private companies, Consulting Engineers were appointed under the Government of India.  Later when the Government undertook the construction of railways, the Consulting Engineers were designated as Government Inspectors.  In 1883, their position was statutorily recognised.  Later, the Railway Inspectorate was placed under the Railway Board which was established in 1905.

1.2    Under the Indian Railway Board Act, 1905 and Notification No.801 dated 24th March, 1905 of the Department of Commerce and Industry, the Railway Board was vested with powers and functions of the Central Government under various sections of the Railway Act and was authorised to make General Rules for the operation of Railways.  The Railway Board is thus the Safety Controlling Authority for the working and operation of Government and Company managed railways.

1.3    Section 181(3) of the Government of India Act of 1935 provided that functions for securing the safety, both of the traveling public and of persons operating the railways, including the holding of inquiries into the causes of accidents, should be performed by an authority independent of the Federal Railway Authority. Due to the outbreak of the war, the constitution of the Federal Railway Authority did not materialize and the Inspectorate continued to function under the Railway Board.

1.4    To avoid direct subordination of the Railway Inspectorate to the Railway Board, the Pacific* Locomotive Committee, headed by Lt. Col. A.H.L. Mount, then Chief Inspecting Officer of the British Railways, suggested in para 210 of their report, submitted in 1939, as under:-

We understand that, under the Govt. of India Act, 1935, it is contemplated that the Inspectorate will be separated from the control of the Railway Board.  This is very desirable in so far as it will eradicate the present anomaly of the Board being the Inspecting as well as the executive Authority.  We were informed that the Board

* Engines  with  4-6-2  configuration  of  wheels are   called Pacific Locos.

fully appreciate the position, and would welcome the change, although it appears that, in practice, Government Inspectors have generally retained their freedom of judgement.......

1.5    The principle of separation of the Railway Inspectorate from the Railway Board was endorsed in 1940 by the Central Legislature who recommended that Senior Government Inspectors of Railways should be placed under the Administrative control of some authority of the Govt. of India other than the Railway Board.  Accordingly, the Railway Inspectorate was placed under the administrative control of the Department of  Posts and Air in May 1941 and continuously thereafter under whichever Ministry that held the portfolio of Civil Aviation. 

1.6    The erstwhile Railway Inspectorate was re-designated as the Commission of Railway Safety on 1.11.1961.

1.7    The responsibility for safety in the working and operation of Railway rests solely with the Railway Board and the Zonal Railway authorities.  The main task of the Commission of Railway Safety is to direct, advise and caution the Railway executives with a view to ensure that all reasonable precautions are taken in regard to soundness of rail construction and safety of train operation.  The Railway Board refers to the Commission matters relating to modification or enhancement of standards in respect of operation of trains,  track, locomotive, rolling stock and revision of rules embodied in the General Rules, Rules for the opening of New Lines, Manuals, IRCA Regulations, Schedules of Dimensions and other publications.  Suggestions made by the Commission of Railway Safety are duly considered by the Railway Board before necessary revisions are notified.

2.   Duties:-

2.1   The duties of a Commissioner of Railway Safety as spelt out in Chapter III of the Railways Act 1989 are as under:-

a:-    to  inspect  new  railways   with  a view to determine whether they  are fit to   be opened  for  the public carriage of passengers, and  to report thereon to the Central Government as required by or under this Act;

b:-    to make such periodical or other inspections of any railway  or of any  rolling stock used thereon as the Central Government may direct;

c:-   to  make  inquiry   under  this Act into the cause of any accident on a Railway;

d:-  to perform  such  other duties as are imposed on him by this   Act or  any  other enactment  for the time being in force  relating to Railways.

2.2    The term such other duties mentioned in Para 2.2 has been detailed in Sections 22 to 24 of the Act and covers the following:-

a:-     sanctioning the opening of new railway lines after  inspection on behalf of the Central Government;

b:-     sanctioning  the  execution  of  all  works, including new works, affecting the safety of running lines;

c:-     when, after inspecting  a line already in use or a rolling stock already  authorised, the  Commissioner  is  of the opinion that  their  continued   use will be attended with  danger  to the  travelling  public,   he  may  report  his opinion  to the Central government, who may then order the closure   of the line or  the discontinuance of the use of rolling stock; and

d:-    to  inspect   such  a closed line and sanction its   re- opening  for carriage of passengers  and  also  report to the Central  Govt.on the fitness for use of discontinued rolling stock.

2.3    Functional duties, including field inspections, of an Inspector of Railway, since designated Commissioner of Railway Safety, are amplified, among other technical publications, in the;

a:-    General Rules  for all open lines of railways in India administered by the Government;

b:-    Rules for the opening  of a Railway or Section of a Railway for the public carriage of passengers;

c:-    Indian Railways Code of practice for the Engineering department;

d:-    Indian Railway Way, Works and Signal Engineering Manuals;

e:-    Schedules of Dimensions;

f:-     Conference Rules of the Indian Railway Conference Association;

g:-    Statutory Investigation into Railway Accidents Rules, 1998

h:-    Railway (Notices of and Inquiries into accidents) Rules, 1998

2.4       After its separation from the Railway   Board in May, 1941, a post of Chief Government Inspector of Railways, later designated as Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety, was created to enable the Central Government to exercise effective technical control.

2.4.1   The Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety directs the activities of the Organisation and is responsible for advising the Central Government in all matters relating to Railway Safety, recruitment of officers, postings and promotions, budget and expenditure etc.  The Chief Commissioner deals principally with: -

a:-     Matters appurtenant to Field Inspections and statutory inquiries into accidents;

b:-     Inspection Reports of Commissioners of Railway Safety;

c:-     Reports of statutory inquiries held into accidents by the Commissioners. After careful study he forwards his considered   opinion to the Controlling Ministry and the Railway Board with such recommendations as he considers necessary;

d:-    Railway Boards suggestions pertaining to corrections or amendments to General Rules, Rules for Opening of a Railway, Schedule of Dimensions, the P. Way, Works and Signal Engineering Manuals, Procedures for inquiries into accidents, Codes of Practice for Engineering Works and other publications; and

e:-    Preparation of the Annual Report on the working of the Commission of Railway Safety and its placement in each House of Parliament.

f:-     All the Technical publications indicated in para 2.4 above including others issued by Railway Board from time to time.

2.4.2   Field duties of the Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety consist of inspections of sections of Railways, visits to the Railway Headquarters and Divisional Offices, Railway installations and Circle Offices.  If considered necessary by him, he may himself hold inquiries into important accidents.


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